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Looking for Career/MBA Advice

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Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 21:33
Hey everyone, this is my first post here. I was scouring the internet looking for a place to get some advice, and this looks like a great start. I'll just give some background information and see where it goes.

Right now, I am finishing up my BA in International Languages. I have been primarily studying Arabic for the last few years and I'll have my degree by next month. Business school was something that was sitting in the back of my mind, but I didn't really start thinking about it until my management professor told me that my academic background would make me a good candidate. She also said that the longer you wait to attend, the harder the experience will be.

My GPA isn't completely terrible, ~3.4, but my college education hasn't gone without some errors on my part. I am wondering if I stand any shot at actually getting in to an MBA program, and whether or not I should attend at this point, even if I could. Most of the information I've read suggests that applicants have around 2 years of relevant work experience. I have very little work experience in general, and I've not been active in my community since I started college. A few years ago, I received a scholarship to study abroad, so I spent a semester in Morocco studying Arabic. Last year, I stopped attending school to join the Army in pursuit of 1) language training 2) related work experience outside of Oklahoma. After a bad incident during basic training and a long 8 months, I was honorably discharged this year with disability and the entirety of my GI Bill benefits. Since I don't have much of my undergrad left, I'll have a lot of months left on my GI Bill.

So right now, I'm trying to decide if I should focus my efforts on business school preparations, or focus on getting a solid job and getting some experience. A main concern for me is that without a degree in a similar field, I won't be able to get a position that has relevant work experience fitting an MBA, so I could just be wasting time. Right now, if admitted, the University of Oklahoma's MBA program wouldn't cost me a dime because of my GI Bill, though I would much rather move east (UVA, Cornell, UPenn, Dartmouth). Looking at the chart at MilitaryMBA, it looks like I could get a fantastic MBA without it destroying me financially.

What should I do? If you want any more information, just ask. Any feedback is appreciated!
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2012, 20:29
Hmmm, I don't mean to downplay your experience to date, but you may want to get some work experience under your belt. Even within the "military bracket," you have eight months of experience as compared to guys who are officers with four years of experience. What's the rush to apply right now?

Edit: Also, in terms of Top Tier vs. Regional, it depends what your goals are. If you want to go into IB/MC at a BB or MBB, you may need to go top tier to achieve your goals.
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2012, 23:49
Really the only reason for the rush would be that these other courses are fairly fresh, and I have the costs covered. Most of the faculty at my university have been telling me that if I'm going to work on a graduate program, it's best to do it soon after undergrad, otherwise the routine is a killer.

I'm not opposed to waiting. My main concern with waiting is that I'll just end up stuck with some job that doesn't require an undergrad degree. Will a top tier business school really be much happier if I spent a year or two working at Walmart or something similar for minimum wage?
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2012, 05:27
globalenjoi wrote:
I'm not opposed to waiting. My main concern with waiting is that I'll just end up stuck with some job that doesn't require an undergrad degree. Will a top tier business school really be much happier if I spent a year or two working at Walmart or something similar for minimum wage?

Ah, I understand the rush now. No, I don't think one of these top-tier business school would be okay with seeing a minimum-wage job for two years before you apply. However, you need to remember that a lot of the business school experience is about learning from your classmates, so it is typically pretty hard for people just out of undergrad to get into a top-tier school.

If going to a top business school is your end goal, it sounds like you should be focused on getting a job that uses your degree in the short-term and see if you still want to apply in a few years. There are people who go from TFA/AmeriCorps/Peace Corps to business school. I don't want to pry into your disability, but perhaps you can look into a philanthropic path for a few years if you don't think you can land a job (in Oklahoma?) that will use your college degree.
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2012, 16:16
kingfalcon wrote:
If going to a top business school is your end goal, it sounds like you should be focused on getting a job that uses your degree in the short-term and see if you still want to apply in a few years. There are people who go from TFA/AmeriCorps/Peace Corps to business school. I don't want to pry into your disability, but perhaps you can look into a philanthropic path for a few years if you don't think you can land a job (in Oklahoma?) that will use your college degree.


My disability really isn't a touchy subject. My drill sergeants made a terrible decision that resulted in an officer cadet breaking my arm about an inch above the elbow, and the Army decided to let it heal without doing any surgery. It was a really nasty fracture, and now my arm is crooked. As a result, I have elbow issues from the weird alignment, a large amount of scar tissue that, and according to the doctors I'm going to have on-and-off pain in it forever. But I consider myself really, really lucky considering others leave military service with far worse injuries.

I am in Oklahoma, and you can be sure that there isn't a lot of work for someone who has been studying Arabic. Really, the closest thing I can think of is getting some position with the government or military. I have a Top Secret clearance right now, and it won't last and I don't want it to go to waste. But even so, are these things that a business school is going to care about?

Again, I really appreciate the feedback. I haven't had a lot of luck getting this kind of advice at my current school.
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2012, 18:57
My understanding is that business schools want to see work experience. What you might want to do is try to prep and sit for the GMAT to see what your score range is to see what range of schools you can reasonably look at. I am applying to MBA programs with a much worse GPA than you, but with 6 yrs job experience. I think a major reason they want work experience is they want you to be marketable to employers. Without any work experience you are coming in at a severe disadvantage.
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Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2013, 01:12
I am a new member and I always wanted to contribute my small part for the forum to learn together and share knowledge...I look forward to your help as i have visited many sites where i found different ideas about my career. i think according to my nature developing my own business may be at little scale is good for me rather than going to job in anyone's office.
Re: Looking for Career/MBA Advice   [#permalink] 04 Jan 2013, 01:12
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